by Liz Janowski
I’ve had cellulite since I was 13 years old. I grew up in California – where every girl wants to be a tanned beach bunny – and I can remember riding in my parent’s car to the beach with my friends and looking down at newly formed cellulite on my thighs with horror. I am also very thin – with a BMI of 18. I exercise regularly, and even after having 2 kids, I am grateful and fortunate to say that I am back at my goal weight.
But even with my best efforts, I still have cellulite. In almost every picture of me in a short skirt or bikini, you can see me covering my thighs with my hand to hide my cellulite dimples. You can say I am crazy or that the cellulite is very mild – which it is – but it really bothers me. A lot. All summer, every summer.
Back in the early 2000s, I worked for one of the top plastic surgeons in New York City – and he would routinely send patients away who wanted liposuction to treat cellulite. The reason is – cellulite is one of the most difficult issues to treat. Liposuction can even make cellulite worse. That is because cellulite is caused in large part by the connective tissue (or fascia) under our skin. Fat deposits (which we all have) sit side-by-side with tough collagen fibers (or fascia) that are anchored to the muscles beneath. When the fascia pull tight, or the fatty areas grow larger, the fat deposits may bulge out, causing ripples and dimples. Yes, gaining or losing weight can affect the appearance and severity of cellulite. But, even young and/or fit people can have cellulite. And often times, cellulite is genetic. Cellulite also tends to worsen with age as our cells and tissues become less firm.
So, what to do about it? After my experience working with a top surgeon and being in the field of medical aesthetics for many years, I knew that options were limited. You can use technologies like the VelaShape (which we have) to remodel and strengthen skin cells and smooth cellulite somewhat. The results aren’t permanent, but for some people, the combination of heat and radiofrequency in the VelaShape can successfully smooth the appearance of your thighs, butt and stomach.
We now have a new treatment option – and considering my hate-hate relationship to my cellulite, and despite the fact that I have done Velashape treatments and loved the results – I wanted to be the first to try it. Dr. Janowski, the top injector of the long-term filler Sculptra in Colorado, was recently trained by Dr. Rajani (one of the top injectors in the world) on how to use Sculptra to fill in dimples and disrupt the tight fascia beneath the skin.
I have to be honest, I was very nervous about trying it out. As you can imagine as the manager at Sonata, I’ve had almost every procedure and am stoic about all types of injections. However, injections in my outer thighs sounded painful.
To start, Dr. Janowski asked me to identify my dimples. We marked them with a pencil and then I laid down on the table. Dr. Janowski then injected a little localized pain killer into the treatment areas – and from then on, I literally felt nothing but some pressure. Using the needle, Dr. Janowski fanned the Sculptra (a long term filler that grows in your own collagen in the treated areas) in my trouble spots. This both placed the Sculptra and manually broke up some of the tight fascia that was causing the dimpling. When you release some of this fascia, the dimples can look instantly smoother. The Sculptra injected in to the dimples not only fills them in, but it is a collagen-stimulator, meaning the dimples are filled, new collagen is generated, and the overall appearance of the treated area is smoother and more firm.
Post-procedure, I was pretty sore in the treated area, and even had trouble sleeping on my sides that night as it put too much pressure on my treated thighs. But, after a couple of days of tenderness, I felt fine. It has been about 2 weeks, and I do have a pretty large, albeit faded bruise. So, to give you fair warning, you WILL be bruised – so don’t plan a beach vacation for a few weeks post-treatment.
Bruises aside, I can definitely see a difference. Even when I flex my thighs (ladies, you know what I mean), I can’t see the offensive dimples. Sculptra is a filler that grows in your own collagen. It is injected in a liquid that gives you instant fill – then some of that fill decreases as the water is absorbed. However, you start growing in your own collagen immediately – and should see best results after about 3 months. In the face, Sculptra lasts about 3 years – and no one has done studies to see how long Sculptra might last when used on the body. But, it should be long-lasting.
Personally, I am thrilled! I cannot wait to run around in my bikini this summer (once my bruises resolve) and to see my new smoother legs. Both the 13 year old insecure girl in me – and the 37 year old Mother of two – is overjoyed at seeing my smoother thighs and booty.
I will keep you updated on my progress – but here is to a beautiful summer with smoother-looking thighs!
Picture 1: A rare photo of me not hiding the cellulite dimples on my outer thighs. (I am pregnant in the photo.)
Picture 2: Bruising 2 days post-treatment.
*Results may vary from patient to patient